News / Halifax

Halifax council votes to 'ask mommy and daddy' to fix loud muffler law

Council voted to have Halifax Mayor Mike Savage write to the provincial government to ask for changes to the Motor Vehicle Act.

One of the dual mufflers on the chassis before they reach the marriage zone, the chassis and body are bolted together from separate assembly areas. Cameros are built on the assembly line at the GM Oshawa Assembly Plant in Oshawa.

STEVE RUSSELL / Toronto Star Staff

One of the dual mufflers on the chassis before they reach the marriage zone, the chassis and body are bolted together from separate assembly areas. Cameros are built on the assembly line at the GM Oshawa Assembly Plant in Oshawa.

Frustrated they can’t do it themselves, Halifax regional councillors voted on Tuesday to ask the province to outlaw loud exhaust mufflers on vehicles.

Several councillors talked about constant complaints from constituents about noisy mufflers on Tuesday, and asked staff what they could do about it without the province’s help.
The answer: nothing.

“So once again we have to go with hat in hand to the province, and ask mommy and daddy for permission to make our lives better,” Coun. Lisa Blackburn said.

The municipality has its own noise bylaws, but they only really apply to private property, and the provincial Motor Vehicle Act (MVA) explicitly prohibits municipalities making their own laws about vehicles.

The MVA requires vehicles have working mufflers “to prevent excessive or unusual noise,” and prohibits use of “a muffler cut-out, by-pass or similar device.”

Halifax Regional Police handed out a total of 49 tickets for those two offences in the first nine months of 2016, and 55 in 2015.

But it sounds like not many of those tickets stuck in court. Halifax Regional Police Deputy Chief Robin McNeil told Metro in an interview that the subjectivity of the legal definition of “excessive” means charges often get thrown out.

“We’ve had several occasions where the debate turns into, what is excessive? What’s excessive to you may not be the same as what’s excessive to me, and therefore it needs some finer interpretation,” McNeil said.

Council voted to have Mayor Mike Savage write a letter to the province to ask for a change.

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